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>> for more information on the author, visit todd we asked, what are you reading this summer? here is what you had to say. visit to see this and other summer reading list. we continue freedomfest 2011
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with michael shermer. mr. shermer is the author of "the believing brain" and he talks about how her rational beliefs are formed. this is about 50 minutes. >> good morning. i am michael shermer is the director of the skeptic society. i think we actually have a slight of that. there we go. we are the quarterly publication of the skeptic society which is a five o. one c. organizations with claims of all kinds between good science, bad science, pathological science non-science and plain old nonsense. lsu been abducted by aliens and that i marcie know there's a lot of it out there. nonsense, that is. some people call it the boxer in some people say there is a lot of bunk and some -- and that is part of our job.
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why people believe weird things which is the title of my first book and the believing brain is why people believe anything at all. not just weird things. i would invite you all to go to and strive to get the magazine. we believe in a supreme but a rational society a society based on science. we live in the age of science and that is our best tool for understanding how the world works which is where i'm going with this. then we will open it up for q&a after a little while when i tell you about the book. it is about on monday difficult their report. i thought i would tell you a little bit about that because people are constantly asking me. is the icing character? yes, he is always in character. even the obligatory author you know guest host. he is still in character.
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it is near where stewart films. these are the two most popular shows for authors to do. people sell more books on either of the shows in you will on any other show except on oprah but she is gone now. and in fact, the viewership of from age 18 to 35 is greater than for cold there were stewart then it is for jay leno for that age group. in fact, there something called the cold there are bump. for your book sales and it is hard to track immediately with that cash register in the bookstores but on my book went from number 578 to number 19 in a matter of a couple of hours after doing the show. it actually works. these are comedy shows, and so first and foremost they interview. don't try to be funny. leave that to the professionals. and i think that is actually good advice because these guys
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really are funny. they are very fast and quick and they have a team of 15 full-time comedy writers that sit there all day every day writing lines that he would be foolish to try to compete with. and so, just try to get your message across and get your point across. that is what i did. basically, the believing brain starts off with a thought experiment. imagine you are on the plains of africa 3.5 million years ago and your name is lucy. thank you for that. not everybody always get that little joke. doesn't play well in the midwest. 3.5 million years ago the earth was created. 6000 years ago, right after the babylonians invented here. that is about right. anyway, it reminds me of the gary larson cartoon with the little scenes in the cave party and the guy is looking out the
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growing going you are not the lucy. kind of a funny bit. so you are on they plans of africa and you hear a rustle in the grass. is it a dangerous predator or is it just the wind? if you assume it is a dangerous predator turns out it is the wednesday may have an airing cognition. a false positive. you connected a to b that it is an accidental correlation there. there is no causal connection but that is not a pretty yearly high cost air to make. lots of animals make them. you are just more skittish and cautious and below ground to noise. you have seen how animals are like that in the ferc, fin and feather shows on the nature channel and burning channel where they are super skittish. easily preyed upon animals. the reason for that is because on the other hand if you had seen a rustle in the grass and it turns out it's a dangerous predator, you are lunch. congratulations joe just been given a darwin award for taking
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yourself out of the gene pool early without country bidding to the next generation. i'm arguing that there was a natural selection or an evolution of the propensity to make more type 1 errors than type 2 errors, more false positives and false negatives. assuming that all rustles in the grass are dangerous predators just in case because one is a much more costly error than another. why can't we just clock or data and get the decision right? why can we tell the difference between rustles in the grass and dangerous predators? why not sit there in the grass and collect more data? let's see how it goes. because that itself will turn you into lunge for longed for a predator. sitting there and stalling and waiting around is also a dangerous strategy today. so our brains have evolved in the propensity to make snap decisions, rash judgments, intuitive and instinctive choices. not a some evidence, not based
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on collecting lots of data. based on a rapid cognition. that is the propensity for believing all sorts of things. i call this the tendency to find medieval patterns in meaningful or meaningless noise. b. have this tendency to see things, see faces for example, everywhere we look out for that is not such a bad thing because in fact we have defined all sorts of new patterns. that is called learning, connecting a to b. when a is connected to b that is called association learned by whether ringing the bell. he salivates in the ring the bell and he salivates. that is association learning. you have connected a to b and it is a real connection for him in the learns it. what happens in the brain is to strengthen or grow new intramural connections between neurons. memories are stored in the patterns of neurons that are firing. the more you repeat something to
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narrow pattern gets reinforced over and over and over and strengthens the synaptic connections that are stronger. for example they have more dopamine in them. there are whole bunch of narrow chemical transmitters but dopamine to appears to be one of the ones that is deeply connected with learning and reinforcement. reinforcement learning theory is anything that causes their present to repeat what i just did echo if you are a pigeon in a box, the skinner box and you give them a little thing of food to pay keys or whatever your it is you are trying to get them to do if you randomly assigned them, whatever the animal was doing before he got the reinforcement he will repeat that. that is the definition of reinforcement. but say whether it is a rat or the pigeon it turned around twice clot lies and once counterclockwise in the it's the reinforcement. ps remember that in repeated. reinforcement.
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and that is called superstition. sometimes it's called magical thing and that superstition is connecting a to b when there is no connection. if you think that is a birdbrain problem just go out and to the casinos in the slot machines and you will see this operation at work. they have a perfectly programmed to know exactly how much money they are going to make on the hour every hour 24/7 and how many people are sitting there. you can't win. by your brain is geared to try to find some connection there and if you do you get a little hit of dopamine, little positive news. people that are susceptible to gambling addictions get a huge hit probably of dopamine and maybe some other brain chemicals there are the kind of cause them to get even more reinforcement than the rest of us get when they get a hit from gambling. and particularly if there are less risktakers, they get an extra little joke.
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we know there are some brain research on connecting the different causal explanations for pattern a city for example. subjects that are shown random patterns on a computer screen or they're given a random flashes of light a random noises in their phones almost never see randomness. they always find a pattern of some sort. again our brains are designed or a fault to find meaningful patterns. whether they are really there or not. and it turns out that if he gets l-dopa. l-dopa is given normally for parkinson's patients to quell their tremors a little bit. it increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. they are more likely to see random patterns, meaningful patterns and even the rest of us are without the little extra hit of dopamine. but dopamine appears to be one of these chemicals that is highly related to behavioral and addictions, plus just basic
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learning and the sort of process up pattern is today. we know from research that patterns that tend to occur more on the right hemisphere than the left chemistry -- hemisphere showing patterns and tracking where it is recorded that brain just by forcing that as an experiment. it is the process of finding new patterns. the right hemisphere is often associated with artistic ability and musical ability and so on. so let's take a moment and think about this. not that it is a bad thing. the skeptics tend to make fun of people that see the virgin mary and a grilled cheese sandwich which by the way sold for $28,500 to a las vegas casino. we have a good chuckle about that the people believe but in fact this is the basis of all creativity, making a new scientific discovery and creating a new genre in art or
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music. is finding a pattern and seeing a pattern or creating a pattern that no one has seen or done before. that is a good thing. so the tension here's here is to keep an open mind so that you are creative and you can see something new. not so open-minded that your brains fall out and you think everything is real. and so, i have a discussion in "the believing brain" between the relation of creativity and that this. there is good creation that has been steady. there a disproportionate amount of paranoid schizophrenia either themselves or their immediate family. these are largely genetically programmed diseases we think they get passed along genetically. what is going on here is that if you are so creative you are able to find a patterns the patterns that no one else can see,
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perhaps you also find patterns that are not real. my favorite example that i use in the book is richard feynman and jon nash. richard feynman friend the nobel prize in physics for his work in quantum mechanics, specifically quantum electrodynamics of how the subatomic particles interact with each other. and he invented as a bird diagrams. these diagrams of how the subatomic particles interact with each other. they collide and interact and our. these are called feynman diagrams. he sketches the them out and adds mathematical equations to them. so powerful these diagrams they are still used today i physicist to explain the complex interactions of subatomic articles. so popular with diagrams that he had diagrams drawn on the side of his 1976 dodge cargo van which he drove around pasadena california where i'm from. in fact simon lived in alta made
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aware that. story goes when he was driving on lake boulevard where the rose parade is there and someone stuck stopped him stuck a metal light and rolled up the win and said how come you have feynman diagrams on your band? he said because i am feynman. that would be a cool story to tell. possibly apocryphal but it not it is a great story. the van is still around. is parked in the garage. if you ever want to see feynman diagrams if you are a big physics and i will take you there sometime if you come to l.a.. jon nash by contrast when the nobel prize in economics for his work on game theory. discovered discover the mathematical relationship between subjects in a contest of any kind might be a prisoner's dilemma in a contest or an ultimatum game or it could even be corporations in a particular industry or nations competing in a cold war strategy. nash equilibrium is a famous theory about how subjects reach a stable state of how they
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compete with one another, whether it is companies in a particular industry. they are very competitive and end up reaching a stabilize stabilize.where prices stabilize and the quality of product stabilized for a while. cold war strategies like mutual assured destruction is the type of nash equilibrium where we reach a stable state for a while. i'm not going to gain anything by changing my strategy and neither will you so we get the disability there. you may recall jon nash from movie a beautiful mind who also saw patterns that were not real, patterns of government coverups and conspiracies and cubalse and secret agents and aliens and so on. this is played by russell crowe and jon nash who is paired eyed schizophrenic. pc too many patterns that are real, then that is called menace. of course madness has many causes and another version of pattern a city but a process of finding patterns that are not real and they also lead you to be a creative genius.
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nash describes in the book version anyway and the movie is a little different from the book. the reality is it is auditory which is the case for most schizophrenics. is hard to make a movie auditory. you have to have our visual but as he describes in the book, why do you believe in aliens talking to you? or secret government agents are speaking to you? it is the same voice and i get the same story that feels like the same source that i get i mathematical ideas from. so without a tool, somewhere discriminating between true and false patterns how are any of us to know if we have made an important discovery or it is just crazy? science gives us systematic reliable methods in getting at what is real and what is not. not perfect but it is the best source we have. that is why science has developed these particular tools for understanding how the world
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works like having your experience -- experiment blinded. it to blind the experiments of of the subject knows which condition they are and they will change their behavior at differently. so if you are testing some particular drug of the patient knows he has got the drug for weight loss or whatever it is likely to change his behavior and multifarious ways not related to the drug and then when you get whatever effect you want to go -- don't know for his cause by the drug or changed his diet, sleeping more exercising better. maybe that is because of the effects you are measuring. it also has to be double-blinded because of the expander knows which condition is subject to send the experimenter may record the date incorrectly. there's quite a bit of research on experimenter bias. a big problem in science. why is this happening? because of something called the confirmation bias. confirmation bias is where you look for confirming evidence of what you are to believe. your member that everybody does
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it. it is applicable to all of our beliefs, our political beliefs and their economic ideologies in our social attitudes are religious faiths and beliefs and even our scientific theories of hypotheses. we all employ the confirmation bias. it is the mother of all vices. so powerful it is hard to get around it. this is why science has all these checks and balances to try to avoid this problem. so for example if you are conservative you probably read "the wall street journal" and you listen to conservative radio and you filter the through that. mostly hear the data and evidence to support whatever conservative topic is of the day, and likely you are listening to progressive talk radio are reading "the new york times" which is what liberals do. i guess nobody listens to talk radio any more. npr may be. you filter your sources and surround yourself with people who are your fellow
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conservatives. libertarians or whatever we are borg you -- everything gets filtered through that. because we are so tribal we also feel good about this like we are right and they are wrong. not that we are right. we are morally right and we are better than them and everybody does this. including scientist. every scientist would love for his eerie to be true. it is how you advance your career and how you move up the academic ladder and you have made an important discovery. so of course, scientists are going to be usually subject to do the confirmation bias. i guess we will talk about bias in science. is a problem, but it is a bigger problem in all the other areas of life religion, politics, economics and social attitudes because it leaves science has a systematic way of getting out the truth and trying to avoid
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those kinds of cognitive biases. it is not perfect but if you don't look for your disconfirming evidence i can assure you somebody else will usually with great glee in a public forum. they will debunk your silly ideas and gain their own status of recognition and advance their career by debunking somebody else's theory. i think libertarians would like this because they recognize the value of competition. competition is good. competition was it drives us forward. science is a very competitive enterprise. there are only so many grants and academic jobs and so on. there are only so many people they can be published in the big journal. very competitive. this is a big thing because i don't really understand quantum physics and string theory and global general relativity -- relativity in these complex physical sciences in particular, but i have some confidence that somebody else does and they keep each other in check.
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that is to say the system itself is kind of self-policing. somebody is watching each other because they are very competitive. it is not like they are going to meet on the weekends to get their story straight. you know those creationist. they are trying to do political stuff. ..
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but occasionally i look at something interesting and saw senator my friends at caltech and go, if this guy is strong, wise around? want to give want to get some experience there. so this time it's because of this and that and the other. so i ask, what is status of this strain. your seems like they don't have any pair of ddr. i go to my friends and get three for voices and say here's where the field is right now. we have no data. but is it sensible test above are not quite as hard-core site that if you were getting there. and i know i could sense a kind of keep track of each other. in two years ago there were two books published, basically debunking string theory saying it is not even a science by the guys in the field themselves, this is good. it means to stay healthy -- the science of subtlety. so the competitive nature of science is what keeps us on track or not perfectly. still a lot of things published a complete bug nonsense at the
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wakefield paper that was allegedly connecting vaccinations like autism. utter rubbish, the poorest paper ever published in the history of medicine somehow got through peer review of their eyes and causes huge mass panic and thousands of thousands of parents not vaccinating their case because there is an initiative evidence to it. and yet, it legs because we just tend to believe anyway here, readers see. it was in the lancet, must be true. unfortunately, when debunking articles are published, they don't get as much media. but debunking stories follow-ups at these could find no replication process. he could not duplicate it. cool season 1989 got off at press and media attention. free energy, the answer to the future. within about two months, really completely defined. not a single lab could replicate
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the finding, end of story. they don't follow up on that. guess what, 20 different layouts could not find the same missile. that is part of the problem we face is how the data is presented. now, let's go back to a thought experiment on the plains of africa three and a half million years ago. is it a dangerous predator or a gust of wind? what is the difference between a wind and a dangerous predator? a wind isn't an enemy force. a dangerous predator is an intentional agent. and there is a big difference there. our brains tend to infuse the patterns to be fine with an intentional agency. we think there is some being hidden there come a forest. not an impediment for us, but a source of some kind of essence would be into it. a dangerous predator intends to keep me and that can't be good.
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we also have a value judgment. i call this intentional agency, the basis of the belief in the midst of an spiritism goes, poltergeists and demons and angels, aliens and hidden convulsing conspiracy and so forth. the afterlife is all part of the facts were natural born to lift that we tend to think there's two substances. corporeal and echo coyle, body and soul, brain and mind if it is two different things. the brain is only one thing. vicious material substance. the mind is just a word we use in a fuzzy way to describe what it is the brain is doing what it's doing it thing, which is in or uninspiring come swapping dopamine and other chemicals. but i'm in the minority position. most people are natural born to live. most of us think there's two things. that's why we can watch a fun
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movie like freaky friday and get the humor of lindsay lohan and jamie lee curtis switching bodies. but if you think about it, was switching? what's going from one thing to the other. in our minds, we think their soul mate here their personality. and now you have a middle-aged mind high school talking to the girls and a teenage girl in the corporate boardroom. and laughter induced. and these make for fighting movies. there's a bunch of these, date, change ages for 13 going on 30, where something goes from one body to the other. what is that? what is that thing? we naturally say i got it. the personality somehow is not included here. it's out there somewhere, just temporarily and housed in the body and floats around. this is of course a belief in the afterlife.
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and it's a natural belief. i'm claiming we all but propensity as well as part of this evolutionary process. and you cannot object to the experiments. would you wear hitler's sweater? no people say it has evil in it. unless you're one of these neo-nazis who likes to collect memorabilia on ebay because it's fun, most people would not wear hitler's sweater. would you wear mr. rogers cardigan sweater? yes, that would be nice. i would feel more moral and upstanding as it the essence of goodness or evilness exists without a person feels like it's just floating, out of the ether somewhere and got under the sweater. it's in the sweater. another experience with the threat it let her from ebay, wash versus unwashed. which do you think that the higher price? i want the essence of brad pitt
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business. so why would this be? this may have been evolutionary basis. in fact, the sense of smell is really important for certain parts of highlights the airport and. for example, the sense of disgust, the things that smell really bad trigger a sense of disgust and most of the things we are disgusted about that smell bad i related to commingled diseases of things you probably should not be getting too close to. bodily excrement and things like this that carry diseases. on the positive side, things that smell good. proceeds are very pleasant scents are the t-shirt experiment, where subjects know the t-shirt is somebody of the opposite not come through for through for one kind of smell to another and that turned out to be related to who would actually make a good genetic match for them and just subject to an does about people who love the smell
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of their lovers or spouses closing and there's almost like an essence to it, like the essence of my lovers in the closing. and that made them -- so that projection from the dualistic projection, an essence that makes this may actually have a basis in physical reality. the smell stuff is important to us from an evolutionary active. but our brains are definitely where to do this. you can stimulate parts of the temporal lobes located just above your ears and you can trigger all sorts of service spiritualistic type experiences. people hear voices of angels or god speaking to them. they have a sense of connectedness to the universe. you prove deeper through the temporal lobes into the limbic system methoprene, where emotions are controlled if they also have deep religious experiences. these experiments are often done with a bullet to patients who are getting their corpus
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collusive cut between the two hemispheres to stop seizures from running from one brain to the other. if you cut it, the seizures can't spread. well, before they go under u.s. and the sign of wavering say is it okay if we poke around and wake you up in the middle of surgery and ask you what's going on while you poke around? amazingly they say yes and this is how much of the brain that data has been gathered over the last half-century. so we know it has been clear in the brain. and we know this kind six years is that the vendor also is different conditions. as they affect that can be triggered any number of ways. the sense that there's somebody else here in the room, maybe right next to me. lindbergh describes it in the spirit of st. louis over after 36 hours of sleep deprivation, which is nothing come as a graduate student has that covered the tarantula in the cabin of the plane, that he
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spoke to them they spoke to him. the himalayan climbers, the guys the two key to and every so often report, especially vanilla, but there's somebody else and never put them that they're talking to admit to them. so this might be a oxygen deprivation, might be cool. on the other hand, solo sailors under tickets lawyers were basically at sea level and maybe not even cold, maybe they're in the south pacific often report that somebody would come that go around the world and a sailboat item sells. aloft in reports and seen some have been. the iditarod,.fighters, a significant% of the sleep deprived fantastic hallucinations of being sitting there on this by talking to them. i've had some of these experiences have noticed that transcontinental bakeries there is going hours and hours, days without sleep and all sorts of
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weird hallucination. the brain is capable of goodness under ulcers of condition, projecting out for myself something else that is not material. no way argued that this is entirely in the brain, 100% it product to burn or uninspired nothing else. but again a minty minority house. it is just the software running on the hardware, but it exists in the matrix amaya. zero, i'm not going to adjudicate that debate here, but a arguing fact is that green dice from tumors or brain damage, injury, especially for an senility and dementia, as those runs faisal faisal, the memories and personality of the person fadeaway, just on. where did it go? i claim that goes nowhere because it is stored there in the system.
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so the only way to achieve immortality with you to better science and technology, download this neural patterns into some substrate that can be carried on into the far future because it's a better substrate than electric beat of our protein, which doesn't last very long. this is science fiction. i enjoy that a lot. we're not there yet. unfortunately, all of this is going to happen right after he died and i'm going to be so upset if these guys make -- to achieve immortality just after i'm gone. i'm going to come back and haunt them. i do think this is the basis in the belief of the afterlife and guidance on automatically for myself, but maybe i'm biased. maybe shouldn't lead us get to it. the answers deseret company shouldn't. of course famous subject. i'm a libertarian come this way read reason magazine and the cato institute does and i don't
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ever listen to progressive talk radio. i can hardly stand it. "the new york times" is obviously biased to "the new york times" so fair and balanced, but i can't help but think maybe i'm subject to my advice. sometimes it's good to be the other side contacted those liberal sissy must. because i would actually like to see it as an initial debate coming up year for 2012 which they actually have to take the other guy aside for five minutes you defend that particular issue, whether it's abortion or gun control, whatever it is, just to see what he. but it also forces you to say yes, these guys have better games than they did it. everybody has data, so how do we adjudicate the issue? in politics he do it through elections. in science is a slightly different way. there's something of a consent if. a little bit of a democracy. there is a community of experts
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who attend the same conferences and talk monks themselves. they're very competitive so it's a good thing, but with the checks and balances, this is why would argue the american experiment is the kind of scientific experiment. that is a misunderstanding of our country they said look, we don't know how to bring the country. no one does. we have decided up in up way that they can experiment, where he went for a while and change the conditions of variables and 3000 milligrams for a while longer and see how it goes. these are card elections. threw the bums out and bring new win and then we'll collect the data and see how that goes to madison away how science works. i'd argue its marketability feet progressive in politics, but on the other hand things are better, objectively better now than they were 500 years ago in terms of the number of people of freedom and prosperity around the world. there is your liberal democracies in 1900.
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outline. even america was a liberal democracy. women couldn't vote until 1920. another something like 100 -- what is it? 120, 130 liberal democracies. you can measurably come objectively scientifically measure between a dictatorship in a in a democracy they look at north korea versus south korea. you can see, not at night. you can see it in the height of north koreans versus south koreans. they are about four inches shorter. you can measure in gdp, in of magnitude in north korea versus south korea. these are -- scientists are not supposed to attend politics of science but i think that's wrong. we can cross the various cities -- abu scientific arguments we can make in the american experiment was set up a bunch of scientists, these guys were natural science. they aren't used until the late
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1800s. wasn't invented until 1845. they were philosophers, natural philosophers will be made today by science. they were running a scientific experiment. so since i am at a venue for talks a lot about politics, that's a good way to think of it. let's are an experiment try this set of laws or click the data and think of it that way. let's think of ourselves as scientists and always look for that evidence. i will end with reading the last two paragraphs of my book and then will take a few questions. here i am just kind of wrapping up about the power of science and believe and of the many mysteries we have uncovered an questions or try to answer. one in particular stands out. although rationale is come this receives that few men who carefully weighs all decision through cold, hard logic and rational analysis of the data is not only extend the probably never escape.
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mr. spock is science fiction. and it's a good thing because people with separate ring damage to the national networks in the brain, particularly limbic systems find it nearly possible to make even the simplest decisions about the most mundane choices in life, which is to buy, for example. with so many brands and sizes and qualities to consider, reason alone will leave you standing in the store i go for synonym decision, analysis paralysis, and emotional leap of faith beyond reason is often required just to go through the day, let alone make the decisions in life. in the end all of us are trying to make sense of the world and nature has gifted us with a tub which sword that cuts for and against. on one major brands had the most complex and sophisticated processing machines in the universe, capable of understanding the universe itself, the process of understanding.
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on the other rich by the same process of forming beliefs about the universe and ourselves, were also more capable than any others pcs is self deception and delusion. a fooling ourselves even while trying to have it being fooled by nature. in the end, i want to believe and i also want to know the truth is out there and although it may be difficult to find, science and the best tool we have for uncovering it. thank you. [applause] so we have a few minutes for questions. yes, sir. >> although? >> ere we go. >> understanding the brain as he brought tears today, how can you weep yourself into the brain of a liberal to tap what you need to tap to provide them light? >> right, first of all probably not the and coulter approach
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where you call them idiots. that is a conversation stopper for most people. of course, it's like a pseudoscience, who we call pseudoscientists. of course nobody thinks they are pseudoscientists. i'm quite amazed at the lab to collect pseudo-science. nobody thinks that. of course liberals don't think that either. one approach is that the value of the libertarian is that we're fiscally conservative and you can find some common ground and ship them over. the same principle you see here applies over here. if you're for freedom, denny speak for freedom not only in this area, but this area over here and try to nudge them that way. part of the problem i run into it i discuss in a chapter in politics is that liberals think conservatives tend to emphasize different warrior values and it's not that one is better than the other. it's like i believe in helping the poor and that its
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government's job to take care of the immediate outline common in the soup kitchens and all this and that people fall through the cracks and conservatives want to emphasize the group value the rule of law, peach or kiss them and so on. it's like our these related? you have to find common ground. i believe we should take care of them. i'm a brother's keeper. yes of course, were grouped together, and in together, help each other. the question is what is the best we could do this? think about this. religion is good at this. this is where iran into trouble with the atheist friends down the roadway at the other conference. it's like no, religion. religion does a lot of good. they go to new orleans for katrina and are way better than seeing that. that was a disaster. right. israeli government the best way to help people? in any kind of nudge them that
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way. >> hayakawa gc and the skeptic movement, what is the most pervasive and dangerous ish ec? >> i think skeptics have a strong bias against religion, just a knee-jerk of its religious tattoo be bad. there's very little subtlety. the liberal bias is probably the other biggest one that if you do a show of hands like i do every year, it's at south point hotel this thing we, probably 85% liberal, 14.999% libertarian and .0001% conservative. like there's one guy in the back. why is that? were science and scientists around the stall academics and academics are pretty much liberal. so they've been inculcated in the liberal view because it is so biased that way.
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i'm sure you've seen the studies. places like berkeley -- he will find a single conservative or republican in the social sciences or humanities. like an outline. and what a challenge on this is how can you think you are giving students a balanced education when all they get is this liberal perspective? and their answer is because we are actually right and we are helping counter what they are going to get up there in the real world. that's not helping anybody. anyways, i think those two things. against religion in per liberalism are two strong. >> thank you. >> about science, i wonder if you could count on the climate science, you know, debacle -- >> i thought that might come out today. i think i'll save most of my comments for when i'm not with beer at malmberg afternoon at 5:00 or something like that about bias and science. i'm sure this will come out.
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yes of course obviously climate science is no less biased than any other science related to a political or economic or social issue, which is most of the social sciences have the same problem. there is a particular issue for people into economics like us because it has political and economic ramifications of public policy. but all the social sciences have the same bias. i'm no longer a climate scientist on one level. i think of it as five different questions. is europe getting wetter? yes. is the human cost? , that if not most of it. from there i get up to on that bandwagon. how much warmer is it going to get? when? 50, 500? the further you go, the airburst lehtinen make addiction character and therefore although the consequences be of it getting warmer?
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it depends if it's half a degree centigrade, not so much. three, four, five, probably more. you point out that well, africa and maybe not so good. canada may be much better. it's a complicated issue. and size, which we do about it? can pretty much done the libertarian burial of letting market forces operate. if you have people that drive better cars, top-down government fiat controls will not feature. if the price of gas goes up, boom, people will -- if there's a market incentive for innovating better batteries, for example, like the nissan lever some of these. they are getting better. we have the least to go. not sure what the battery problem is. other than aliso 100-mile range is problematic for much of driving in los angeles without constant plug-in stations and that takes too long. but he didn't market forces will help get there.
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>> thank you for coming. could you describe how it takes longer to reject false claims and to accept true ones? and -- i said that backwards. >> you got it correct. >> implications for policy. spirit ring research shows that if it scans subject arrangement mri scanner while they are pushing buttons, believing -- the process of believing something like pushing the button true, false, not sure. i think that's true happens much faster. the cognitive processing in the brain happens much faster than i am not sure in having it. and by the way, doubting something, part of that system associated with discuss, negative emotion i typed about
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also like. that being a skeptic is an unpleasant and uncomfortable process. why? first about between true and false things you have to keep track of both. it's like line takes a more cognitive processing one new cognitive light detectors are going to do print skin mashers tiffani tell the truth, you only remember one thing. i was there. it was my friend. if your line, you have to remember this story are told what actually happened and that takes more processing. those light detectors and are playable yet, but that is the principle that doubting something takes my processing and that's a measurable thing. it has to do with public policy is because most people vote, not on reason or rationality or is the better argument. without tribally. i am voting a try. i said. now i am encouraged by matt welch and nick gillespie's new
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book, the race at the independents. this is the biggest voting bloc now. zero, we're getting there. it's a little like herding cats. come on, we are around trying, the nonbeliever tribe. same with skeptics. announces the biggest growing religious creed and america. but it's hard to organize them into anything. the problem with libertarians is not well-organized. it turns to policy. let's take one more question. >> this thing about conspiracy theories, is that true within the middle east people tend to leave them resentence beers he theories on a political or historical basis for that quick >> yes, they do. if conspiracy theories are big here, they're big in the middle east. there's less critical thinking time, more of a theocracy and democracy. so that's part of it.
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although i'm constantly amazed at what people believe in america. i was on my book tour just after jesse ventura was touring with his bow, 63 document they don't want you to read. they are on the internet for free. come on. jesse has never met a conspiracy to my. this is the problem. if everything is a conspiracy, nothingness. something might be conspiratorial so i tend to be skeptical about the conspiracy theory if it involves world domination by 12 guys that i read called the illuminati, probably not true. watergate was a conspiracy. that makes sense. lincoln was assassinated by here's a. jfk probably not. almost certainly not. although he did have a moment of pause. i have to study watching the hbo film too big to fail based on the today to go hasn't seen

Book TV
CSPAN July 31, 2011 12:40am-1:30am EDT

FreedomFest 2011 Education. (2011) Michael Shermer ('The Believing Brain From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies- How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.')

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 9, Feynman 5, Jon Nash 4, America 3, Angels 2, Michael Shermer 2, Fiction 2, Nash 2, New York 2, Hitler 2, South Korea 2, L-dopa 2, Africa 2, Stewart 2, North Korea 2, Russell Crowe 1, Jay Leno 1, Gary Larson 1, Mr. Rogers 1, Abu 1
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Duration 00:50:00
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Tuner Channel 100 (651 MHz)
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Pixel width 704
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on 7/31/2011